As much fun as we were having with Shannon, Davey, and their friends, we were still financially on the edge of things. We needed to make some money if we were going to plan on getting to Europe for the Rainbow gathering.
While Donna was beginning to be calmer on the road after the trucker’s head on sideswiped, she was still battling with the shock. I had to be careful not to be too close to the curb on her side of the road. Passing through construction zones with orange cones was particularly stressful. But, trooper that she is, she continued to push through her fears. Making little sales trips to nearby towns with small tourist shops, we often left a handful of merchandise in exchange for a handful of money. We figured we needed to go to a seaside town with lots of kids for a big sale. So, off we went to Ocean City.
A Strange Find
Stopping for gas at Quick Stop, we filled the gas tank. While pumping gas, one of us saw a hat on the ground. It had printed on it, “I’m hooked on Fishing, not drugs!” It was clean, as if someone had just lost it at the pumps. Donna put our little bit of stash that we had inside it, rolled it up, and stuck it in the back pocket of my captain’s chair.
When we arrived in town, we went down to the boardwalk to check it out. There were plenty of kids and families enjoying the beach. We investigated a few shops, but most were closed. Donna noticed there was going to be an event later that afternoon and decided we would sell out of the van, ‘shakedown street style.’
We settled into a good parking spot, and Donna began to make peanut butter sandwiches. That was when a young policeman came over asking to see our papers. We gave him the documents, all in Spanish. He said, “Your license plate doesn’t look right to me. California, I think you have drugs in this van. Please step out of the vehicle.” Donna set the partially made sandwiches open faced on top of the cooler, behind my captain’s chair, and stepped out of the van. He called for reinforcements. Soon, there were multiple police. The young cop frisked me and had Donna frisked by a female police officer. “Sit there on the curb.
We tried to explain that we were just here to talk to some of the shops about buying our merchandise, but he was determined we were flush with drugs. He began to climb into the van and search the multiple giant bags of Guatemalan handicrafts. The officer arrived before I had opened the truck’s windows or turned on the fans, and we weren’t offering to turn them on for him.
The police officer asked us to open the cooler so he could look inside. Donna picked up the peanut butter sandwich and opened the cooler. He looked inside but, of course, found nothing. Donna closed the cooler and replaced the sandwich on top, in front of the kangaroo pouch of the Captain’s chair.
“Do you want your sandwiches?” the policeman asked.
“No, thank you. We’ve lost our appetite.” Donna replied.
A Hot Search
It was hot, and he was sweating like a … Anyway, he came out of the van for some air and demanded my driver’s license, which I promptly handed him. Pulling out his ticket book, he fumbled with my license dropping it on the ground. He bent over, picked it up, and once again fumbled it. Fumbling it again and said, “AHH, FUCK IT!” Donna thought, ‘I’ve got this young cop now. I’m going to report his behavior.’
The other police were giggling at him behind his back and began to slowly disperse, saying, “Yeah, you’ve got this, kid.”
He never found anything, but he wasn’t going to give up. Deciding to have the van impounded was his one last F. U. to us. He was so frustrated. We were allowed to get some items like our money bag and our sandwiches. Soon the tow truck arrived and took the van away. The young policeman informed us that we could go to the Police Department to pay the fine and get it out of the impound. We found an ATM and withdrew enough cash to get the van out. We then found the Police station and asked to see the Chief.
At the Station
Donna was pissed but very calmly let the Chief know that his officer was extremely rude and wrong in profiling us. We are just vendors that came to the city to sell our merchandise to local stores. AND the officer yelled the “F word” at us! The Chief said that the young man was not an officer yet. He was a cadet from the local police academy and was working the summer in hopes of getting a job with the department. “Well, I hope you reconsider this applicant due to his vulgarity and rude behavior!” She said. We paid the fine, got the release paper, and got out of there.
At the Lot
We walked the mile or so to the impound lot. I went inside the office, where I met an older man that wore his pants up near his chest. I gave him the paper, and he said, “Here’s your key. The van is out there.” The older man began to walk out to the van, but I walked faster and got in before he got there. He then squatted behind the van inspecting the license plate. He walked around to the driver’s window and said, “Paper said your plate was wrong, but I don’t see anything wrong with it!”
“Just another case of police harassment against someone different,” I said.
“Yep, looks like that to me, too.” He said
I started the van and drove out the gate, where I picked Donna up. We drove right out of the city, crossed state lines at the perfect speed limit, and continued back to the house.
The kicker is that his instincts were correct. The license plate was out of date, and the sticker was forged by myself and Tie Dye Ron. The’ stash’ was in the “I’m hooked on Fishing, not drugs” hat in the captain’s chair back pocket behind the cooler where the peanut butter sandwiches lay open. We are thankful his mother must have told him, “You don’t touch other people’s food.” Donna had palmed the hat when we lost the van to impound. I never knew where the ‘stash’ was!